Castres back to winning ways against Pau


Castres overcame a Pau fight-back to rekindle their European Rugby Challenge Cup progression hopes with a 30-21 bonus-point victory.

Back-to-back defeats had seen Castres' chances of making it out of Pool Two fade away, but the Top 14 side ran in four tries to close within four points of the leading Newport Gwent Dragons and eliminate their domestic rivals.

Geoffrey Palis got Castres off the mark from the tee before David Smith touched down for the opening try of the match.

Palis added the extras and a further three-pointer, but Thomas Bianchin's score - converted by Brandon Fajardo - ensured Pau trailed by just six at the break.

Pau's resurgence continued after the interval and Julien Fumat's try eight minutes in helped move the hosts in front, although that joy was tempered by what looked to be a serious injury to Jeremy Hurou moments earlier.

The prop looked distressed as he was carefully escorted from the field on a stretcher after lengthy treatment on the pitch.

With Pau temporarily down to 14 men thanks to Jale Vatubua's yellow card, Sitvani Sivivatu went over in the 54th minute to wrestle back the lead, before Florian Vialelle and Julien Beziat made contributions of their own - the latter securing what could be a vital bonus point.

While Castres were only able to convert one of those trio of tries, the lead now stood at 16 points, and Sean Dougall's late score, coupled with Fajardo's extras, merely made a minor dent in what was a welcome win for the visitors.